Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

  1. #1
    Senior Member FedUpinFarmersBranch's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Brothers make life together after Iraq ` hell on earth `

    Brothers make life together after Iraq 'hell on Earth'
    By Robert Imrie
    Tucson, Arizona | Published: 05.26.2008
    advertisementHOLCOMBE, Wis. — Mitch Bocik waddles to the putting green, his legs bent and unsteady, his putter doubling as a cane. For balance, his left hand grips the right shoulder of D.J. Engel, his half-brother and almost constant companion.
    Enjoying a round of golf, the two are home from war, taking care of each other just as they did that dreadful day in Iraq when a roadside bomb blew apart their lives as Army soldiers.
    Bocik misses his 15-foot putt, leaving it short. Engel picks up the ball, helping again.
    Bocik, 22, is paralyzed from the knees down. Lucky, he says, to be alive and able to even crudely walk. He sometimes falls but says, "It is not that big a deal."
    Engel, 26, deals with emotional scars — and some guilt. It was just months after he had encouraged his little brother to join the Army that he rushed to rescue him from a mangled Army vehicle, thinking he was probably dead.
    Today, they live together in a new house in northern Wisconsin filled with modern conveniences, including a 55-inch flat-screen TV, big-boy toys like snowmobiles, and medals from their tour in Iraq.
    They are young men who have lived the horrors of war as Army reservists called to active duty and are moving on together.
    "We have gone through hell," Engel says.
    "Hell on Earth," Bocik agrees.
    Former basketball star
    Bocik, once a high school basketball star who averaged 21 points and eight rebounds a game, now goes daily for physical therapy to strengthen his legs and hopes to play wheelchair basketball. He would like to become a banker.
    Engel works as a prison corrections officer, though he is preparing to go back to Iraq again in November.
    Golf gives them a chance to forget the war — and to kid around.
    "I am at a disadvantage. I don't get a practice swing," Bocik jokes. Even so, he often drives the ball straighter, Engel says.
    Bocik is one of about 30,000 U.S. military personnel who have been wounded in hostile action in Iraq since the beginning of the war in March 2003, according to the U.S. Defense Department.
    For Bocik and Engel, whose father was married to their different mothers, life is a partnership. For example, as Bocik mounts a treadmill as part of his daily therapy, Engel turns on the television to ESPN for him. They play pool.
    The brothers' journey to Iraq together began one night in October 2005 in Milwaukee, with some beers after they played basketball.
    "You should join my unit. Go join the Army," Engel recalls telling Bocik. "He just kind of looked at me and thought about it for a second and said, 'OK.' "
    Within two minutes they had a plan. "The next day," says Bocik, "I was at the recruiting office." His attitude was, "Let's give it a whirl and see what happens."
    Sent from training right to Iraq
    Two weeks later, he was in basic training. Three weeks after that, he was told he would be deployed to Iraq with a new company of recruits.
    "I got myself into that company," Engel said. They arrived together in Iraq in September 2006, assigned on missions to escort soldiers and search for roadside bombs.
    In seven months, the brothers' unit found 100 roadside bombs, including the one that hurt Bocik on May 15, 2007.
    "We drove over it once, and they hit us coming back," Bocik says. "I don't remember any of it. I got knocked out."
    The blast blew his head against the roof of the vehicle, compressing his spinal cord.
    Engel was in the lead vehicle of the convoy, about a half-mile away. "I remember looking back and seeing the mushroom cloud," he says. He drove as close to the carnage as he could before jumping out and running toward it.
    The brothers reunited last September when Engel's unit returned from Iraq. Engel spent a month with Bocik at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Milwaukee before they returned to Holcombe and established their new home.
    Bocik knows his brother has orders to return to Iraq in several months.
    "I would go back in an instant if I could, especially if he was going over there. That would be a no-brainer," Bocik says.
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  2. #2
    Senior Member NOamNASTY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    I offered to visit with some of the injured here . In order to do so, you have to fill out a huge form . I am not into filling out forms with personal info ,so I didn't . I go throuh parking lot and see them in wheel chairs or just looking lost, wonder if they know people are tunred away who want to visit them .

    Also i was told that they have plenty of visitors already . I don't think they do have , but since they have them quranteened from most of socety, who knows ?

    Some are lucky enough to have familys, but alot have no one. I remember how empty the visiting rooms were at the VAs when the Nam troops came back .

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts